Ranch Dressing

Paleo Ranch DressingWhat’s creamy and flavorful and makes everything taste better? Ranch dressing of course! Unfortunately, that stuff that comes in the bottle at the grocery store has far too many strange ingredients for me. And salad dressings are so easy to make at home that it really is worth giving it a try.

Since discovering how simple it is to make my own Paleo mayonnaise, I happily turn that mayo into creamy dressings any night of the week. This ranch dressing has a nice hit of dill because I like it, but you should feel free to adjust the herbs to your own taste buds. I usually make enough dressing for one or two days worth of salad. It’s quick to make and then I don’t get tired of the same dressing either. If you’re looking for something to dip your veggies into, look no further! Unless, of course, you’re in the mood for Paleo Hummus

Ranch Dressing

1/3 c. Paleo mayonnaise

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. dried dill

1/2 tsp. dried chives

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions

1) Put mayonnaise in a small bowl and add the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder.

2) Measure out the thyme, dill, and chives and add them while rubbing them together in your hands to break them up a little and release their aroma.

3) Stir to combine, add salt and pepper, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. Eat with crunchy salads, veggie slices, or even drizzled on eggs.

 

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Sage

Crockpot Pork ShoulderWake up. Throw this together in 10 minutes. Come home later to an amazing dinner. If you don’t have a slow cooker, I highly recommend getting one. There is something magical about putting a bunch of ingredients into a pot in the morning and then coming home later that day to a marriage of rich flavors and crazy-tender meat. Pork shoulder is ideal for this kind of low, moist heat – it gets truly transformed.

Once you have a pot of shredded pork, there are all kinds of things you can do with it. In my house, it’s hard to even get it to the dinner table because everyone walks by and has to steal a bite. We liked this version just piled on our plate with the juices over the top, but you can wrap it up in a lettuce leaf or add it to your eggs in the morning. Whatever you want to do, pork probably makes it better.

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Sage

about 2 lbs. of pork shoulder, trimmed of most of the visible fat

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 a large onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 large stalk of fresh sage, about 8-10 leaves

1/2 c. coconut milk

Directions

1) In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Rub this mix all over the pork shoulder, getting into the nooks and crannies, and set aside.

2) Put the chopped onion in the bottom of the cooker. Pour in the coconut milk, add the whole garlic cloves and fresh sage. Place the pork on top of the mixture and put the lid on. Cook on low heat for about 8 hours, until the meat is fall apart tender.

3) Remove the meat to a bowl and remove any excess fat from the meat that you don’t want. Strain the liquid at the bottom of the cooker into a fat separator or any container to put in the fridge. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or more and then remove the layer of fat that solidifies at the top.

4) When you are ready to eat, reheat the meat and juices together and pile on your plate.

Serves 6

Primal Life Kit ON SALE this week only!!

Sometimes you need to grab an opportunity when you see it. This bundle is that moment! Check it out – it’s pretty darn remarkable!


I created Balancing Paleo so that I could share my journey and my recipes with all of you and sometimes I discover things that I think can really make a difference. This bundle is remarkable for the quality of its content AND for its price. And it’s only available like this for a very short time, which is why I want to bring it to your attention. There are things in this bundle that I am excited about, that are making a difference in my life, and maybe they’ll make a difference in yours. Things like…

  • Recipes? – Check!
  • Guidance? – Check!
  • Meal plans? – Check!
  • Fitness programs? – Check!
  • Motivation? – Check!

I have actually spent the last several nights reading the success stories in here and I have been inspired. I’m so inspired, in fact, that I hope to share a few more details of my own journey with you in the future – just in case it resonates with one of you and helps you get over the hump. The people in these stories share their growth and as I read them, I realize that they are ordinary people just like me making choices every single day. It’s exciting to see where they’ve been and where they’re going and I’m grateful to have them included here.

And then there are all of the other books and offers – it honestly seems too good to be true. But I’m telling you, it isn’t. So go grab it – You won’t regret it!

Recipe Review: Deep Dish Tamale (Hint Hint: It’s in the Chowstalker Community Cookbook)


You know how I’ve been telling you about this amazing bundle of Primal and Paleo cookbooks, success stories, research papers, how-tos, discounts and more? If you don’t know about this incredible sale, the details are here.

Well…one of the cookbooks in the Primal Life Kit is the Chowstalker Community Cookbook. You’ll find my recipe (!) for Spring Risotto with Ham and Asparagus, of course, as well as over 130 Paleo/Primal recipes by other bloggers. It’s pretty awesome and there are so many that I want to try! One in particular kept drawing me back. It was a recipe for a Deep Dish Tamale by Emily Coatney, at Coconut Contentment.

Coconut Contentment's Deep Dish Tamale Pie

I have actually been craving tamales lately. I grew up in California and live in Colorado so tamales are a part of my culture. But they’re time consuming to make and they’re made with corn so they’ve fallen to the side. Then I saw this open-faced tamale that you whip together and toss in the oven and suddenly I knew what I would be making and sharing with all of you.

The crust of this is nothing short of amazing. The combination of white sweet potato and coconut flour does an impressive job of standing in for masa. It’s tender and fluffy and slightly sweet and the chicken topping is nicely spiced. We ate it with guacamole and salsa and it was terrific! I have to admit, though, my mind starting going wild with all of the possible toppings for this crust. Just like a traditional tamale, you could do beef, pork, even a sweet variation. There’s a lot of fun to be had!

So go ahead and make this recipe and then go get your bundle while it’s still on sale. Who knows which recipes or articles or books will be the ones to change your life?

Buy Now!

Disclaimer: In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase the Primal Life Kit. It’s an incredible bundle from some spectacular people, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Deep Dish Tamale by Coconut Contentment

Filling

1 Tbsp. palm shortening (sub any healthy cooking fat)

2 c. shredded or chopped cooked chicken (about 3/4 lb., thighs are normally the most affordable and delicious)

2 1/2 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. chili powder

zest of one lime

juice of one lime

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 purple onion, chopped and sautéed

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

Tamale Dough

2 white sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed (sub any variety of sweet potato)

3 eggs

2 Tbsp. chicken broth (sub water but broth provides the most authentic flavor)

2 Tbsp. palm shortening (sub any healthy cooking fat)

1 tsp. vinegar (white or apple cider)

5 Tbsp. coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Toppings

Guacamole

Salsa

Avocado Slices

Cilantro

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an 8-10 in. oven-safe skillet or pie dish, place the Tbsp. of palm shortening (or other chosen fat). Put in the oven to heat the skillet to temperature.

2) Combine all of the filling ingredients in a medium sized bowl – toss well to ensure even coverage.

3) Combine all of the dough ingredients together in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, Kitchen Aid mixer, or by rolling up your sleeves and giving it a good stir until well-combined.

4) Once your oven has preheated carefully remove your skillet or dish. Evenly distribute the melted cooking fat in the bottom of the pan. Pour your dough into the skillet, spread out evenly with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Layer your filling on top, lightly pressing it into your dough.

5) Carefully place in oven to cook for 35-40 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned and the chicken has begun to brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve alongside your favorite toppings.

Serves 4-6

Buffalo Deviled Eggs

Buffalo Deviled EggsA few of you out there might have some hard boiled eggs laying around right now. If you’ve been Paleo for a while, you might even have a constant supply of hard boiled eggs around. Here’s a little something to do with them that is fun, delicious, and super quick. These make an excellent appetizer, lunch, or snack. You can even be fancy and pipe your filling into the eggs, but I used a spoon because it was lunch time and I was hungry! Add more or less buffalo sauce to make these to your spice level and also be sure to use a hot sauce that doesn’t have a bunch of junk in it. I use Frank’s Original because it has peppers, vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder and nothing else. I used 3 eggs here, but this recipe is great for doubling or tripling. Make however many you want because they’re sure to get eaten!

Buffalo Deviled Eggs

3 hard boiled eggs

1 Tbsp. Paleo mayonnaise

1 1/2 tsp. hot sauce (I used Frank’s Original Buffalo Sauce)

celery, diced to garnish

freshly cracked pepper

Directions

1) Peel and cut hard boiled eggs in half. Pop the yolks out and place in a small bowl. Set whites aside.

2) Add mayonnaise and hot sauce to the yolks and stir to combine thoroughly. Taste and add more hot sauce to taste.

3) Spoon or pipe filling evenly into each egg half. Plate and sprinkle with celery dice and black pepper.

Serves 1-2

If you haven’t yet explored the Primal Life Kit that is on sale this week, take a moment to check out the amazing bundle of products that’s been put together. It has so much stuff that can help you start on your Paleo journey or help you through a rough patch. It’s really awesome!

Disclaimer: In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase the Primal Life Kit. It’s an incredible bundle from some spectacular people, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Primal Life Kit – Amazing Product Bundle!!

Primal Life Kit: 49 Paleo and Primal Products and 14 Discounts for $39

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase the Primal Life Kit. It’s an incredible bundle from some spectacular people, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

What’s The Primal Life Kit?

The people at PaleoPlan.com have put together a really exciting opportunity for you! When you purchase the $39 Primal Life Kit, you get over $1500 worth of the most popular and life-changing Primal and Paleo products:

  • 35 Paleo and Primal eCookbooks and Informational eBooks ($498 Value)
  • 3 research papers by Dr. Loren Cordain ($15 Value)
  • 1 Online Cooking Club subscription ($39 Value)
  • 3 Fitness Programs ($67 Value)
  • 2 Paleo Challenges ($44 Value)
  • 2 Meal Plans ($69 Value)
  • 2 Online Magazine Subscriptions ($36 Value)
  • 1 Bonus Video about Eating Paleo on the Road
  • 14 Discounts ($757+ Value)

TOTAL VALUE $1500+ for just $39!

These educational and potentially life-changing Primal and Paleo products are being sold for just $39 – more than 97% off their original retail value – this week only (April 21st through April 28th).

All the ebooks are in pdf format, so you can read them on your computer or the e-reader of your choice. This $39 kit will give you all the tools you need to eat, cook, work out, and live Primally.

21 Paleo and Primal Recipe & Meal Planning eBooks ($221 Value)

 

4 Autoimmune and Inflammation eBooks ($132 Value)

  • Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Quickstart Guide by Sarah Ballantyne of ThePaleoMom.com ($18 Value)

 

3 Paleo Research Papers by Dr. Loren Cordain ($15 Value)

6 Informational eBooks ($75 Value)

1 Online Cooking Club ($39 Value)

2 Success Stories eBooks ($31 Value)

  • Everyday Paleo Success Stories by Alison Golden of PaleoNonPaleo.com ($24.99 value)

 2 Kids and Paleo eBooks ($21 Value)

3 Fitness Programs ($67 Value)

  • Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness Program 1 Month for $.01 by Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib at EPLifeFit.com ($9.98 value) – Use the provided coupon code to redeem your first month for just 1 cent. Automatically billed at the full retail price in subsequent months. Cancel at any time.

 

2 Paleo Challenges ($44 Value)

  • 1 Free Month of Paleo Bootcamp by Paleoaholic ($7 Value) – With over 300+ Paleo recipes, Paleo meal plans, and shopping lists, the end result is a weight loss plan and shopping guide system that’s now helped over 10,000 people drop the pounds and keep them off.
  • OPENutrition Challenge by Heather Kelly of OPENutrition.com ($37 Value) – In this 5-Week Paleo challenge, you will receive daily email support, a sample meal plan, and you’ll learn what to eat in order to improve your health, boost athletic performance, and shed fat while adding lean muscle mass.

2 Meal Plans ($69 Value)

  • Primal Blueprint Meal Plan 1 Month for $.01 by Mark Sisson of  PrimalBlueprint.com ($9.98 value) – Use the provided coupon code to redeem your first month for just 1 cent. Automatically billed at the full retail price in subsequent months. Cancel at any time. 

2 Online Magazine Subscriptions ($36 Value)

1 Bonus Video

  • Sneak Peek at Fat Loss Masterclass Video Home Study Course from Jonathan Bailor and Abel James (Free Sneak Peek Bonus) – Abel (FatBurningMan.com) and Jonathan (author of The Calorie Myth at thebailorgroup.com) dive into the do’s and don’ts of foraging your best options for eating on the go.

14 Discounts (Over $757 Value)

  • Upgraded Self (Bulletproof Coffee) – Get 10% off products at Upgrade Self, the official store for Bulletproof Products. Expires June 10th. UpgradedSelf.com
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Get all of this (retail value $1500+) for just $39. Seriously.

That’s normally the price of just one or two of these products! After you purchase the kit, you’ll be sent an email with a link to all of the downloadable products, as well as the coupon codes for all of the discounted products.

NOTE: You will not be shipped any physical goods with your purchase of the Primal Life Kit. These products are downloadable ebooks, online magazine subscriptions, and discount codes. There will be a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee if you are not satisfied with your purchase. Please contact neely@paleoplan.com with any questions about the Primal Life Kit. 

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Primal Life Kit Bundle – OH MY!!!

Dear Readers,

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am about what’s happening in the late hours of Sunday night. There is an amazing bundle of Paleo and Primal products that has been put together which will be on sale (like crazy sale) for 1 WEEK ONLY! In this bundle you’ll find the Chowstalker Community Cookbook which has a recipe by ME (among other talented food bloggers, including several really well-known ones)!! I really, really want you to check out the whole bundle, but you’ll have to wait until Sunday night/Monday morning. I promise it’ll be worth it!

For the past several years, a few of my friends have repeatedly said that I should do something with my passion for cooking, that I should start a blog, that I should write a cookbook. Last fall, I decided to give it a go and you have all been so amazingly supportive that I am certain this is a path for me to follow. Recently I was asked by the wonderful people behind the Chowstalker website if I would contribute a recipe to the e-cookbook they were putting together. Needless to say, I was thrilled! It turns out that this cookbook is now being offered as part of the Primal Life Kit Bundle that brings together some of the keenest minds and leaders in the Paleo/Primal community, not to mention some of the most celebrated cookbook authors and bloggers. And the whole bundle can be had for a steal!

In this bundle, you will find many, many fantastic cookbooks as well as Paleo Magazine for 6 months, a 21-day Paleo Cleanse from Paleo Plan (which I’m dying to try), a ton of discount coupons, and more! This is seriously something that you don’t want to miss. Okay – just one more thing…Well Fed 2 by my idol, Melissa Joulwan, is in the bundle. Do I really need to say more?

So the Bundle Sale will be launching this Sunday night but, don’t worry, I’ll remind you again. I might even share a little something from inside the bundle.

Want to see a picture of my recipe?

Spring Risotto with Ham and AsparagusSpring Risotto with Ham and Asparagus. It’s on page 57.

Thank you all so much for supporting the efforts of one mom to live healthier, cook with passion, and share with you.

Spring Celery Soup

Cream of Celery SoupThis soup is everything that makes me think of spring. It’s light and delicate, just like the first flowers peeking out. It’s simple, with very few ingredients to distract from its beauty. And it’s easy – but maybe that’s just my requirement for spring! This is sort of like a cream of celery, only it’s so much lighter. It’s a starter, not a main course, but I found myself wanting to drink it like tea while I went about my day with the birds chirping in the background. I think it would also be delicious next to a few fried eggs in the morning except that I’ll have to make another batch to try that because this one is all gone!

Spring Celery Soup

2 tsp. ghee

1 lg. leek

1/2 lb. of celery

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. dried chives

1 Tbsp. dried tarragon

1 c. coconut milk

2 c. chicken or veggie broth

Directions

1) Cut off the root end of the leek, slice lengthwise down the middle, and then cut the white and tender green parts into 1/4 in. thick half-moons. Place these in a bowl of water and swish around until all the dirt is gone. Strain. Slice the celery into 1/4 in. pieces.

2) Heat ghee over medium heat in a medium pot. Sauté the celery and leek with the salt for 5 minutes. Add the chives, tarragon, coconut milk, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.

3) With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. A Vitamix or high-speed blender would work well here too.

4) Taste to adjust seasoning and then sip with pleasure.

Tuna-Apple Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Tuna Salad with Tarragon DressingMy husband always gives me a hard time when I make anything with tarragon. You see, back in 2004, we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary with a bunch of friends in a gorgeous villa in Tuscany. At the time, I loved tarragon and when I came across a tarragon pasta dish in this teeny-tiny, beautiful little restaurant, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, what was served was completely inedible. There was so much tarragon, and I think it had been allowed to grow past the slender leaves into something more bitter, that the whole thing was totally overwhelming. Reluctant to send it back, my husband came to the rescue and gave me his lunch, while he battled his way through mine. True love! Now that a decade has passed, I think I’m ready to start loving tarragon again. This salad is a tribute to that lovely, herb with a hint of licorice.

After a good workout in particular, one of my favorite things for lunch is tuna salad. I love getting some solid protein with a dose of Omega-3s for their health benefits, and tuna salad comes together fast. This salad felt particularly special because I wanted to add a little crunch and decided to caramelize some walnuts in honey for a little something extra. I try not to use sweeteners very often, and this salad was already getting some sweet with the apple, but every once in a while, you just have to go for it. The walnuts were screaming honey and the salad satisfied me all day long. Can’t beat that!

Tuna-Apple Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Salad

2 small cans of tuna (I used albacore)

1 apple, cored and chopped

1/2 an English cucumber, finely chopped

2 scallions, minced

Honeyed Walnuts (optional)

Dressing

1/4 c. Paleo mayo

1 small garlic clove

1 Tbsp. Lemon juice

2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1) Put the drained tuna in a large bowl with the chopped apple, cucumber, and scallions.

2) In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, minced tarragon, minced garlic clove, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3) Pour the dressing over the salad and mix gently. Taste to adjust the seasonings, plate, and top with a few honeyed walnuts.

Serves 2

Pot Roast

Beef Pot Roast 2014My son loves pot roast, brisket, and basically, all slow cooked beef. I love things that can be put in the oven and left for a while so that I can get other stuff done, including hang out with him. You know what else I like? Affordable cuts of meat. This is one of those basics that is great to have in your cooking repertoire because it’s super simple and is mostly hands-off. Depending on how many you’re feeding, you also generally end up with some leftovers. That’s a big deal in my house because I love having cooked protein around to make lunches a snap.

A couple of things about pot roast. There are different cuts of meat with different names that you can use to make a pot roast; I used boneless chuck pot roast here but I use the same cooking method with beef brisket. The important thing to remember is that you need a tough cut of meat so that the long cooking time turns it into something tender and delicious. Here’s the other thing – A lot of pot roast recipes out there call for carrots and onions, wine or broth, maybe potatoes, etc. Sometimes I make mine like that too, but what I’ve found over time (and by dividing the meat and doing both ways to have a side-by-side comparison) is that my family prefers the meat separate and the veggies separate. That way they all have a chance to get this amazing caramelization and keep their individual flavors rather than stew together and get soft like beef stew veggies. The little bit of water I use is just to provide a cushion so that the juices can start accumulating into a flavorful broth without burning first. And one more thing…Do you see that black, lidded pot in the back of the photo? It’s not an expensive pot and I’m pretty sure you can find it at any supermarket, and it’s perfect for this. The lid fits tightly, things cook beautifully, and clean-up is a breeze.

There are only a few more weeks until the weather gets warm so hurry and make this simple pot roast. You won’t regret it!

Pot Roast

1 large boneless chuck pot roast, about 3 1/4 lbs.

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

3/4 c. water

Directions

1) Set oven to 275 degrees. Combine all the spices together in a small bowl.

2) Pour water into the bottom of a roasting pan with a tight fitting lid.

3) Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on one side of the meat and then pat and rub it in well. Place the meat spice-side down into the pot and cover the other side with the remainder of the spice mixture, patting and rubbing again. Make sure your meat is well coated.

4) Cover with the lid and place the meat into the oven. Let cook undisturbed for about 3 hours and then check to see if the desired tenderness has been reached. If not, replace the lid and allow to cook another 30 – 60 minutes. The roast in the photo cooked for 4 hours.

5) Remove the roast from the oven and allow to rest on a cutting board, lightly covered with foil, for 10 minutes. While the meat is resting, remove as much of the fat from the juices as possible using a fat separator or placing the juices in the fridge and allowing the fat to solidify slightly. Slice meat against the grain and serve with the meat juices and a bunch of roasted veggies.